Content Detail

Violets are often thought of as weeds in the garden, but they can also serve as ground covers. Labrador violet offers no fragrance, but it does has pretty purple flowers in mid- to late spring.

  • Family (English) Violet
  • Family (botanic) Violaceae
  • Tree or plant type Ground cover, Perennial
  • Native locale North America
  • Size range Low-growing plant (under 6 inches)
  • Light exposure Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily), Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7
  • Season of interest late spring, mid spring
  • Flower color and fragrance Purple
  • Shape or form Creeping
  • Growth rate Fast, Moderate

Size and Method of spreading:

Labrador violet is a very low-growing plant, seldom rising higher than 4 inches.  It is a colonizing ground cover.  Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots.  These plants are strong growers and may have the potential to grow aggressively.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Labrador violets are native to Canada and the North and Northeastern parts of the United States.

Leaf description:

Leaves are small (1 inch wide) heart-shaped leaves and a bit darker green than other species of violet.  Variety purpurea, which is naturally occurring, has purple-tinged leaves.

Flower description:

The purple lowers are the typical flower of violet plants, but the flower of this variety is a bit smaller than other species.

Fruit description:

Fruits are small capsules; not ornamentally important.

Plant care:

This plant needs consistently moist soil, especially when grown in full sun.  Slightly acidic soil is preferable and since violets can grow aggressively, it is a good idea to plant them away from lawn areas.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Aphids and slugs can be a problem from time to time for this plant but it is resistant to deer and tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

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